THE BLOG
07/02/2007 11:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What If Libby Was Black Or Mentally Retarded?

Scooter Libby's sentence was "excessive," President Bush said.

In other words, two-and-a-half years in jail for perjury is just way, way over the line in a case which involved the undermining of our national security; exposing a CIA agent's cover; and potentially damaging this agent's covert operation to track unaccounted-for nuclear material (loose nukes) -- all orchestrated by the vice president and Libby to sucker punch Ambassador Joe Wilson.

So the president all but pardoned Libby by commuting his prison sentence.

The Republican-American pundits and bloggers are, of course, applauding this action by the president for some reason, which is weird since the same set of googly-eyed Cotton Mathers wanted President Clinton at least impeached and, at most, castrated after he was caught lying to a grand jury about oral sex.

However, in the case of Scooter Libby, justice is simply too unfair and mean. To wit, I give you these remarks from Michelle Malkin's freshly minted comments section:

We need to support the President on this one. He did the right thing in the face of the stiff political winds. This witchhunt against Libby was wrong from the beginning. I only hope that the President pardons him later on. The libs are going to be spitting up their lattes up on this one.

This is a brilliant decision. This means that Libby can still appeal, and that the injustice done by the lower court can still be righted. A full pardon would have taken that away, from what I understand.

It was the LEAST Bush could do for Libby - and I do mean THE LEAST! he whole trial was a fiasco and Fitty should have been on trial by now for abuse of power Nifong-style.

Good decision. I always looked at the whole thing as a sham anyway. Too bad he is still strapped with the fines.

Yeah. Poor Scooter.

But let's get back to "excessive." That's a strong word considering President Bush's war for reelection and profit has killed anywhere from 30,000 to 600,000 Iraqi civilians and 3,600 American soldiers. That's excessive. It's also a strong word for a man who four years ago today baited the Iraqi insurgents to attack our soldiers by taunting them with "bring 'em on" -- the most irresponsible statement any president has uttered since President Grover Cleveland streaked pantless across the White House roof while shouting, "Bring on a New Jersey Turnpike rest area named after me! Let it thus betoken my legacy, and so too the Roy Rogers fixins' bar contained therein. Oyez! Huzzah! And other joyous old-timey skidoo!"

What's excessive? President Bush, who suddenly hates excessive punishments, once refused to commute the death sentence of a 33-year-old mentally retarded black man with an IQ of around 60 and the functional skills of a 7-year-old boy.

10 years ago last May, President Bush and Alberto Gonzales received a request for clemency on the day Terry Washington was to be executed for killing a college student in 1987. President Bush skimmed Gonzales' incomplete summary and denied clemency.

Terry Washington was dead before the sun went down.

Regarding the record 152 executions during his two terms as governor, Bush "wrote" in his autobiography, A Charge To Keep, "I don't believe my role is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own." He went on to write, "You know what's interesting? I once swallowed a coin." I just made up that second quote, but I like to imagine that he's the kind of guy who has accidentally swallowed a coin or two.

The truth is that commuting Libby's prison term had nothing to do with any sudden outbreak of Bushie sympathy or humanity. After all, this is the same man who literally smiles from ear-to-Vulcanish-ear when talking about warfare and ordering more soldiers into combat in Iraq.

No, the president's decision had everything to do with: 1) a likely deal between the vice president and Libby's attorneys in which Libby promised to keep the scuttlebutt away from Vice President Cheney in exchange for the VPOTUS promising to see what he could do about the sentence; and 2) Scooter Libby isn't poor, black or retarded.

That's it.

If Scooter Libby had been some unfortunate nobody who was either black or poor or retarded or WHOOPS!, all three, the president would've merely skimmed the Gonzo Notes and remarked, "He's a retarded and his first name is 'I. Lewis Scooter'? Deny. ACK! I swallowed another coin."

Sadly and seriously, in the president's universe -- shared by his thinning brigade of dittoheads (see above blog comments) -- the excessive punishments are reserved exclusively for people like Terry Washington: a man who lacked the ability to control his actions and communicate at a normal level; a man who was unable to comprehend what was going on around him. In other words, a man who was clearly more competent than the president.

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 3. Patrick Fitzgerald on "excessive":

We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as "excessive." The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.

Hat tip and joyous old-timey skidoos to Jane Hamsher.